UPDATE: I am now endorsing Colemak. Use it instead. It’s better.
New material has been added at 3:00 PM December 19.
The Dvorak keyboard is much more comfortable than the standard layout, or Qwerty (named for the first 6 letters on the top row). Qwerty was designed so that the keys would be far apart to help prevent keyboard jams. This was a problem on typewriters, but no longer matters! The Qwerty is obsolete! Move into the new age and use Dvorak! Here’s why it’s good.
-It was designed so that typists would typically alternate hands, which is far faster than typing with just one hand.
-70% of all keys are typed with the home row, and more than 90% of all letters are typed with the top and home rows. The bottom row is hardest to type on.
-All the vowels are typed with left hand home row, and the most common consonants (t n s h d) are typed with right hand home row.
-Common punctuation is easier to press, being at the top left instead of the bottom right.
-Less important for every day use, but: Why are – and = all the way at the top, while the brackets [ ] (which you never use) are closer to the center? Well, Dvorak fixes that!
But I’m already really fast on QWERTY! Why should I switch?
Some people are very fast on QWERTY. But I can give those people 2 reasons to switch.
1. You could be faster.
2 (most importantly) Even if you are just as fast on QWERTY as on Dvorak, Dvorak reduces stress on the fingers. Long periods of typing on QWERTY can lead to aching fingers. Dvorak spreads the work evenly, and your fingers have to move less!
THE FASTEST TYPIST IN THE WORLD USES DVORAK!!
That’s right! Barbara Blackburn achieved 212 words per minute on a Dvorak keyboard, and sustained 150 words per minute for FIFTY MINUTES. She hated typing in High School. But when she switched to Dvorak, she became a pro. Her typing teacher was terribly embarrassed. This is a site talking about her.
LET’S SEE THE LAYOUT!!!!!!
TOP ROW: ‘ , . p y f g c r l
MIDDLE ROW: a o e u i d h t n s
BOTTOM ROW: ; q j k x b m w v z
BUT HOW CAN I POSSIBLY LEARN THIS NEW FORMAT?
It’s easy! I learned it in just one week, and now after less than a month of using it, I’m already averaging 60 words per minute!
You can find free lessons HERE. (I do not take credit for that site, I didn’t make it)
BUT HOW CAN I USE IT? I DON’T WANT TO BUY A NEW KEYBOARD!
You don’t have to! You can switch the keymapping on your computer. The keyboard will look wrong, but good typists never look at the keyboard so it doesn’t matter.
MAC INSTRUCTIONS: Open up System Preferences, and go to International. Hit “input menu”. Scroll down until you see “Dvorak”. Check off Dvorak. In the upper right of your screen, you will see a picture of the U.S. flag. Click it, then click Dvorak. You can use this to quickly switch between formats. Also you can use Dvorak Qwerty, which uses Dvorak keyboard but has Qwerty commands (for instance, command(apple)-C is still at the button labeled C). This is useful if you know the commands by location, and not letter. That’s what I use.
PC INSTRUCTIONS: THIS SITE (that I do not take credit for) tells PC users how to switch.
WHY ARE MORE PEOPLE NOT USING IT? Well Qwerty has become commonplace. All the typing teachers know Qwerty. So unfortunately for you, you were taught Qwerty.
Your password may be in Dvorak OR Qwerty! Make sure you know how to type your password in both, and know which your password is set to! Also, if you share your computer, be sure to switch back to U.S. before logging out–otherwise, the other person using your computer won’t be able to log in (unless they know Dvorak too!)